MEET THE OWNERS OF MARMADUKES CAFE

22 Dec 2020 | Student Life

If you’re living in Sheffield you should already be familiar with Marmadukes Café on Norfolk Row, which has been running since 2012. It’s been a big year for the owners, Tim and Clare Nye. Not only did they open their second premises on Cambridge Street in January, but in the midst of the pandemic are busy preparing their new bakery and café on Ecclesall Road. In this Q&A we asked the husband and wife what the driving force was behind them starting Marmadukes Café, and what advice they’d give to students setting out to start their own business. Here’s what they had to say…

Tell us about your business.

Marmadukes is a family run speciality coffee shop cafe established in 2012 on Norfolk Row, Sheffield. The Georgian building, beautiful cobbled street and the fact that it was opposite The Crucible made it irresistible. Our aim was and is to make everything in house fresh each and every day, to be ethical and offer something different to the chains. Our view has always been that independents have to be better than chains. 

What was the driving force behind your business?

I retired in 2011 and we decided that it was my wife Clare’s turn to do her thing. She was/is a great home cook and baker as well as having a great eye for interior design. A perfect combination. 

What are your core business values?

Our core values emirate from Clare’s high standards. Quality is the key. Generally customers don’t mind paying a premium if they can see feel and taste the difference. Coffee at less than £3 is an affordable luxury. We charge the same price as Costa and Starbucks, but our coffees are much better. 

How do you overcome setbacks?

Setbacks as much as the successes are very much part of being in business. You can’t bake a cake without breaking a few eggs and we love baking cakes. Independents are certainly able to be more adaptable and flexible in resolving problems. This can help make the fixing process quicker and less costly. Being tenacious, focused and determined are also essential.

If you had one piece of advice for students setting out their own business what would it be? 

Have a vision. Find an opening, see what other businesses aren’t doing, or aren’t doing well. If you think I could do that better, for less money than you might be on to something.

Are there any other brands within your sector that you are following at the moment?

Clare, is an avid researcher and gets inspiration from businesses all over the world. We travelled to New Zealand, Australia and Singapore in 2017 and came back full of new ideas. Hospitality touches the lives of people working in many sectors, Coffee shops are full of creativity and provide an informal network that you can and should try to tap in to.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

Opening a second site on Cambridge Street was a big thing for us. It was so much harder than we ever anticipated, but the end result is something we can all be proud of. We are also just about to open our own bakery on Ecclesall Road. Making our own bread has been an ambition from day one.

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